When it comes to life and happiness, there is no end game. There's no point at which you can brush off your hands and say you've reached the happy place and now you can stop.
This message has been coming at me from all directions lately, and I finally realised, it's time to listen.
As Steve Jobs said: "The journey is the reward."
Sometimes I fall into the trap of pining for more. Something bigger, better, more fulfilling. More time, more activity, more friends. I fall into a feeling of lack. I also look to The End.
I used to want to just find the career that would make me happy so I could stop worrying about what I would do with my life -- but careers evolve and it's the evolution and learning that is so fulfilling.
I had Destination: Happiness in my sights. But it wasn't really, because you can't be happy in the future, you can only be happy now. Right where you are. I was wishing away the present to get to the future -- where I'd be happy -- without doing anything to make myself happy in my "current."
"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." -- Ernest Hemingway
When I worked in my first big corporate job, I can remember thinking "it's a long life". Then I thought, "I'm 23! This can't be how I feel about the rest of my life!" I was wishing away my weeks for my weekends, and my life for that glorious end point where I was going to be happy. But now I can see with certainty that I was never going to get to that happy ending if I didn't do something to make it a happy journey.
"The trick is to enjoy life. Don't wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead." -- Marjorie Pay Hinckley
So as the message has come up so many times recently, I have done a bit of introspection, as well as taking inspiration from people I admire who are happy in their day to day (which means they're happy in their lives) and looked at where I find my peace.
I'm happiest when I'm right where I want to be and I want to be right where I am. I'm not looking forwards, or backwards, or sideways, or wishing my moments away.
And that's the journey, after all, isn't it.Moments I've loved in the past week are:
- Hiking in the woods with my husband. Talking, strolling, occasionally holding hands when the path was wide enough. I had nowhere else in the world to be, and no one else I wanted to be there with. We were lost in the moment, connecting with nature, each other and ourselves.
- Playing with the little dude as he climbed all over me and open-mouth-baby kissed my face laughing. I love that little laugh, and once it gets going there's nothing I want more than to make it continue. I had nowhere else in the world to be, and no one else I wanted to be there with. We were both right in the moment, connecting with each other.
- Horse riding, on the new horse I'm leasing. I had so much fun that I lost track of time, and I each ride is getting better and better as we get to know each other and can start to bond. As I rode around the arena I had nowhere else in the world to be, and no one else I wanted to be there with. I was right there in the moment, connecting with my horse, listening to my body.
- Reading a wonderful book for a couple of hours while both dudes slept late at night. I get lost in the pages of a good book, the characters come alive in my imagination and I forget about everything else. One of my all time favourite things to do it stay up late, snuggled up in bed, enraptured by a book. As I lay next to my sleeping love and read, I had nowhere else in the world to be, and no one else I wanted to be there with. I was right there in the moment, turning my pages, listening to my husband breathing next to me and the occasional murmur from the baby.
They're all small. Part of the journey. All about connecting - with myself, my loved ones, nature, my imagination. These moments ARE the journey, and they are the reason for being. Without these moments of bliss, suspended in time, happy with no desire to change anything or be anywhere else, then the destination can't be enough.
As we will have missed a life to get to the end point.
This is a lesson I need to keep on learning. Be here, now, and live for these moments, whatever they are. After all:
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." -- Annie Dillard
Love the moments, love the days, and you'll love your life.
Sam knows all too well how hard it can be to fit happiness in around a busy life, as she's a corporate refugee and mother of one. She takes women on everyday adventures and runs workshops and limited 1:1 sessions to look at where you're not living your best life and how to go about making some changes. You can also take charge of your happiness and your life in her Fun-Life Overhaul Challenge!